Monday, September 26, 2016

Lou Reed - Lou Reed

Somehow, I haven’t ever owned this, Lou’s first solo album, although I am intimately familiar with
practically every song on this release through other versions. Quite a number of these appeared on the expanded Loaded 2-CD set, as they were written while Lou was still in the Velvets. Others I have known from later records (Berlin) or from bootlegs. Now that I finally have this in my possession, I think that this may be Reed’s finest solo work – or, at the very least, right up there with the best.

My understanding is that Lou stumbled upon a previously unknown band called the Tots and made them his backing band for live shows and for this and the subsequent Transformer record. Their fairly simplistic style worked well on this post-Velvet material – not imitating the previous band by any stretch, but not straying all that far, either. OK, now I've done some research and apparently this album was done with studio musicians, although their sound is very similar to the live recordings of the Tots that I have heard. Alternatively, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman from Yes even make appearances here.

I dunno if this is the best version - I think one of the Velvet semi-boots VU or Another VU have wilder takes - but "I Can't Stand It" is one of Lou's best, out'n'out rock'n'roll songs - fun and energetic. A piano-driven semi-ballad, "Going Down" has some busy guitar work throughout, but nice female backing vocals and a fine melody and "Walk and Talk It" is another catchy, mid-tempo rocker with sharp-edged rhythm guitars and maybe a bit more lead guitar noodling than needed, again. Not bad, just maybe not necessary. There's been quite a few different versions of the quieter "Lisa Says", and I've always liked the tune in its various incarnations and dig the upbeat mid-section. "Berlin" ranks up there with one of Lou's more powerful and romantic melodies and the twin lead guitar lines are beautiful - all so much so that Lou created an entire album around this song's concept. On the other hand, while nice, "I Love You" is a pretty slight offering, which he keeps short, but "Wild Child" is a cool story-telling tune, with a catchy chorus and a nice refrain about Lorraine (just as an aside, this name came up very often in 70's rock songs - wonder why it was so popular with songwriters at the time?).

Another song that should have been highly commercial is the dynamic "Love Makes You Feel" - maybe too romantic coming from a cynic like Lou, but powerfully rhythmic, followed by "Ride Into the Sun", a head-boppin' mid-tempo rock number with some cool lead work (this does sound like Steve Howe here) and nice backing vocals. The finale is the epic "Ocean", a very cinematic number with crashing cymbals emulating the waves and lovely guitar lines. Again, this might not be the very best take but it is a classic.

Oddly, the liner notes put down this album as a minor release from Reed's catalog, but I find it one of his most cohesive records. Yes, it consists mostly of numbers from the Velvet days, but the songs are so good that this is easily overlooked, especially as these songs were not released in any form at the time that this LP saw the light of day. I'm glad I finally picked this up!


The Psyatics – Famous Monsters

They say there are monsters residing inside all of us - and some of us are simply better at hiding them
than others. On this, the third Psyatics album, songwriter/vocalist/bassist Rob Bell delves into these demons and brings them into the light, sharing disturbing tales of the evil that we humans do to each other, ranging from the plights of serial killers to the passionate throes of violent relationships.

Here Rob is joined by longtime cohort, guitar/noiseman Jack Ball along with new skin basher, Mark Bartschi (veteran of innumerable bands, including the Swank Bastards and the Pussyrammers), replacing original drummer Jimmy Krah. While Jimmy was an excellent drummer, Mark's newness seems to have reinvigorated the band, both live and in the studio and this record has a fiercely dark energy to it.

Starting with the title track, "Famous Monsters" is a drivin' three-chord power-riff that veers off with a few somewhat atonal chords here'n'there just to make sure you never get too comfortable. The lyrics will also ensure that you don't get complacent, as Rob rattles off some of the more unpleasant tendencies of America's more "famous monsters". Relenting a little, Mark starts a surf-ish beat while Jack gives some melodic arpeggios that Rob's bass lines swirl around as he narrates an affair that ended permanently in "The Last Time I Saw Julia". "Lay Low" sounds like the soundtrack to film about being on the run from the law, as the lyrics describe a caper gone wrong, and while "Shake Them Bones" seems like it could be taken more than one way, apparently it is simply the latest frantic dance sensation - or kind of an update on "Rockin' Bones". It is difficult to keep still during this one - and Rob's wife Danielle adds some nice harmonies, as well. I love Gene Howley's old-timey sax playing on the rhythmic "You Killed Me First", where Rob's looping bass lines moves along this tale of love gone good'n'bad and then something went very wrong in "Burnt Offerings", as the protagonist and his prey have a shrieking debate as to whether she'll be "dining as my guest or on the grill" - dark in the extreme!

One of the most lyrically vicious songs I have ever heard is "Pet Names", where Killing Joke mixes with an old torch song as Rob and Danielle trade sharp barbs and Gene adds sweet saxophone. The Drags' "I Like To Die" becomes a perfect, high-energy Psyatics garage number here and is followed by the cool jazz of "The Cost of Love in Today's Market", which gives a respite from the vitriol and tortured madness of the rest. Back in full force with the fuzz and a rapidly rollickin' bass riff for the ode to the Church of the Sub Genius in "I Am Slack", which also throws in some radical tempo changes, and then some edginess in "Voices in my Head", with more sweetly screechin' sax-work and a diabolical self-diagnosis of needs unfulfilled in the No-Wave-ish "Missing Piece" and "Secret" before concluding with a highlight of their current live set, a psychotic, Psyatic treatment of Lou Reed's "I Can't Stand It Any More".

These cats have been pals as well as one of my fave current bands ever since I first saw them back in 2012 - and they even graciously thanked me in the liner notes - so you may say that I am biased, but this is another fantastic slab of modern garage madness that I highly recommend!

Thee Faded Pyctures at the Time Out Lounge, Tempe AZ, Saturday Sept 24, 2016

 Melanie and the Midnite Marauders made our first road trip to Phoenix courtesy of Jamie and Thee Faded Pyctures, along with the Time Out Lounge. We had a great time bringing our brand of high energy honky tonk to this part of the desert, seeing plenty of old friends and, of course, diggin' on Thee Faded Pyctures!


(MMM photo by Kristin Badger) 

Thee Pyctures brought two sets worth of garage/punk rock'n'roll, covering the likes of "Night of the Phantom", "ESP", "You're No Good", "I Can't Tell You", "Soapy", "What a Way to Die" and a slew of their own originals like "Everyone Knows That I'm High", "Tonight You Die", "Leave My House" and their "difficult one" (according to Jamie), "Reading My Mind".

Jamie Told great anecdotes about the tunes as introductions, and played cool licks on his Vox Continental keyboard while guitarist Scott punched out chunky chords and frantic fuzz riffs, Danny kept things moving with his rockin' bass runs and fellow Danny drove it all home on the drums, while singing backup!

So good to know that real garage rock'n'roll continues to thrive throughout the country - and world - now 50 years after some of the originals were recorded! Hoping that these guys put out a recording soon!











RIP Gerscheel Gordon Lewis


R.I.P. Herschell Gordon Lewis, the “Godfather of Gore”, Has Passed Away at 87
---

HGL was about as rock'n'roll as a movie producer could possibly be. He has influenced more bands than most musicians have. Sad to hear of his passing. Time to pull out the DVDs!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mick Ronson – The Spider with the Platinum Hair – by Weird and Gilly

Mick was, of course, the platinum blond, sex-symbol guitar slinger standing by Bowie’s side during his best records – The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Alladin Sane and Pin Ups. He went on to work with Mott the Hoople, Ian Hunter, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and others along with his own solo career before his untimely death from liver cancer in 1993.

Weird and Gilly are obviously pseudonyms for members of the Bowie fan club who have worked diligently to catalogue Bowie’s work and those of his sidemen. They became friendly with Ronson and were struck by his good nature and talent and so felt the need to tell his tale.

The story begins with Ronno’s home town of Hull, where he grew up musically gifted, learning piano, violin, recorder and, eventually, guitar. These other instruments served him well in his later career as he arranged songs and even did some orchestral scoring. His time in local bands gave him confidence in his abilities and after doing some studio session work, he came to Bowie’s attention and put together what became the Spiders From Mars.

From here the story moves quickly as the albums listed above came one right after the other, with tours in between, and suddenly the Spiders were no more as Bowie decided to move on. As a Main Man (Bowie's management company) artist, Ronson acquired a solo deal, which didn’t pan out financially, then did a brief stint with Mott the Hoople and from there went on to work with Ian Hunter as well as a surprising amount of punk rockers – either as producer or session guitarist or sometimes both. It is fairly incredible how many projects he worked on and especially how many (a majority, apparently)  never saw the light of day for one reason or another.

Unfortunately, liver cancer claimed his health although he continued to do as much as he could throughout his treatments, from producing an acclaimed Morrissey record to performing in front of his biggest audience ever – along with Ian Hunter and David Bowie – for a Freddie Mercury tribute concert, with Queen as the backing band, which turned out to be his last live show ever. But, he did also manage to record one last solo album, Heaven and Hull, which some consider his best. While he also continued to work with other artists until the end, he succumbed to the cancer at the age of 47.

The book includes many eulogies and recounts several tribute concerts (which financed a public stage in Hull dedicated to Ronson) and rounds out the story of a generous, talented man whose life ended far too soon.

Nicely told tale of one of the more influential sidemen of the 70's. 



Thursday, September 22, 2016

recommended gigs


Thursday Sept 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at Atomic Liquors
Thursday Sept 22 - Jack Even Johnson with the Acid Sisters at Velveteen Rabbit

Friday Sept 23 - Life is Shit festival at the Dive Bar

Saturday Sept 24 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Sept 28 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki
Wednesday Sept 28 - The Rhyolite Sound at the Hogs and Heifers Rally in the Alley
Wednesday Sept 28 - Ancient River and the Van der Rohe at the Griffin

Friday Sept 30 - the All Togethers at the Velveteen Rabbit

Saturday Oct 1 - Nikki Ruffling's birthday bash with Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, The Legendary Boilermakers, Water Landing and the Psyatics!

Sunday Oct 2 - The Burly-Q Revue at the Double Down

Wednesday Oct 5 - Franks'n'Deans Weenie Roast with Jerk!

Sunday Oct 16 - the Goddam Gallows, Gallows Bound at the Dive Bar

Friday Oct 21 - the Psyatics and the Vibrators at the Double Down
Friday Oct 21 - CJ Ramone, Johnny Madcap at the Dive Bar
Friday Oct 21 - Van Der Rohe - Bunkhouse

Tuesday Oct 25 - Rev Peyton's Big Damn Band with the Supersuckers at Triple B

Saturday Oct 29 - The Swamp Gospel, Nina Coyote and Chico Tornado, the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Thursday Nov 10 - Gram Rabbit, Acid Sisters, Darts (with members of the Love Me Nots, Two Tens and Brainspoon!) and the Van der Rohe at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Nov 12 - Cash'd Out at Adrenaline Sports Bar

Friday Nov 18 - Gogo Bordello at the Brooklyn Bowl

Thursday Dec 8 - movie premier of Atomic Punks at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Gizmos (1976), the Gizmos (1979), Dow Jones and the Industrials, Laffing Gas at the Void, Bloomington, In, Saturday Sept 17, 2016

This was a historically, hysterical weekend, with both line-ups of the Gizmos playing together for the first time ever in Bloomington, the town where both bands were formed.

But, before the gig, Giz-friend and musician in his own right, Eric Weddle, set up a symposium on Indiana punk rock featuring Eddie Flowers and Ted Niemiec from the original Gizmos, John Terrel from the Dancing Cigarettes (and others), John Barge from the Panics, Dale Lawrence and Billy Nightshade from the later Gizmos and Yara Cluver, also from the Panics. There was a cool slide presentation of old fliers, records, photos and videos that accompanied the talk, as well. Although the original Gizmos didn't really exist as a band so we weren't actually part of any "scene", the band and, of course, the record label (Gulcher) was highly influential and helped to ferment the "kids" to create their own sloppy, punk rock'n'roll. So, Eddie & Ted talked more about the inception and the rest talked about the later times and how the local punk scene really formed and how the bands met, etc. Fun and informative!




From there the bands ran over to the Void for sound check and to get the lay of the land of the club. Here, we were joined by original Gizmo Dave Sulak, his wife and Giz supporter supreme, Gene Mullet. Surprisingly good sound for a small, dive-y place and then off for dinner.


We returned to find the space jam-packed with sweaty fans of all of the bands - young'n'old, folks who saw the bands "in the day" to kids who certainly weren't even born when the groups were created.


It was difficult to get close enough to take photos, but opening for the night were local "youngsters", Laffing Gass, playing simple, high-energy punk rock. Wall-to-wall people diggin'n'dancin'n'moshin'n'pogoin' for these cats as they blasted through their set, including, I'm told (I must have stepped outside for a breath of air), a Jetsons' cover! A great start of the night!



Dow Jones and the Industrials were up next and kept the packed crowd with their mix of new wave and punk - fantastically heavy/distorted guitar, wild'n'wacky keys'n'electronics and a rhythm section that continued to propel the crowd into a frenzy! Original key-man joined the band via the miracle of Skype, which was pretty genius. Somewhat reminiscent of Devo, but with more punk energy, they appropriately did a drivin' Eno cover, as well. I had never really heard the band before (I'm sure something in passing, but that's about it) and thought they were a highlight of the night!




Then, it was the '79 Gizmos turn! With Dale Lawrence, Tim Caroll (guitars), Billy Nightshade (bass) and Shadow Morton (drums), they serenaded the Void with their melodic punk/pop, with plenty of harmonies, group sing-alongs and solid playing. There were nods to other bands (such as hints of the Dead Boys here, garage bands there, etc.) and for the encore Ted Niemiec came up to sing the 13th Floor Elevators "You're Gonna Miss Me", a tune they did while Ted briefly led the band (post-76 Gizmos, of course).





The '76 Gizmos milled about with the amazing number of old friends and fans there (such as ex Panics and 2014 Gizmos, Ian Brewer, below - I didn't take nearly as many photos as I should have. Anyone who did, please post to the Gizmos website.) before taking the stage. Dunno if it was the heat and humidity (it was a steam bath in the club) or the hour, but the audience dwindled a bit before we hit it, but we still gave it our all and went through everything from our first three EPs as well as our new 7" (21st Century Gizmos Fans Can't Be Wrong). Those that stayed sang along and bopped'n'bounced with us and got to see - for the first time in 40 years - original bass player Dave Sulak join us on stage, original Gizmo Davey Medlock play drums on "Pumpin' to Playboy" (as he did on the original recording) while drummer Kelsey played double bass with Melanie, and, for the finale, ALL of the Gizmos past'n'present (that were present, anyway) singing "Muff Divin'"! Yes, Kenne (guitar/vocals), Eddie (vocals/percussion), Davey (vocals/percussion/drums), Dave (vocals), Ted (vocals/guitar), Rich (guitar/vocals), Melanie (bass and "no!" on "That's Cool"), Sam (guitar) and Kelsey (drums) were joined by Dale, Billy, Tim and, jeez, did Shadow make it or not? There were too many people for me to comprehend! Crazy, crazy time - tons of fun and a once in a lifetime event! Thank you to Purple 7, the Void and everyone involved for a wild night of mid-western rock'n'roll!






(Kenne, Rich, Dave, Ted, Davey and Eddie - all original Gizmos!)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

recommended gigs


Thursday Sept 15 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Friday Sept 16 - Durango 66 at the Golden Tiki
Friday Sept 16 - Rev. Horton Heat with the Swank Bastards at Vinyl at the Hard Rock
Friday Sept 16 - the Psyatics and Joni's Agenda at Sauce Italian American Bistro in Henderson

Saturday Sept 17 - the Unwieldies at Anson Sister City Park - 7:00pm

Wednesday Sept 21 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki

Thursday Sept 22 - Thee Swank Bastards at Atomic Liquors
Thursday Sept 22 - Jack Even Johnson with the Acid Sisters at Velveteen Rabbit

Friday Sept 23 - Life is Shit festival at the Dive Bar

Saturday Sept 24 - the New Waves at the Golden Tiki

Wednesday Sept 28 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Golden Tiki
Wednesday Sept 28 - The Rhyolite Sound at the Hogs and Heifers Rally in the Alley
Wednesday Sept 28 - Ancient River and the Van der Rohe at the Griffin

Friday Sept 30 - the All Togethers at the Velveteen Rabbit

Saturday Oct 1 - Nikki Ruffling's birthday bash with Melanie and the Midnite Marauders, The Legendary Boilermakers, Water Landing and the Psyatics!

Sunday Oct 16 - the Goddam Gallows, Gallows Bound at the Dive Bar

Friday Oct 21 - the Psyatics and the Vibrators at the Double Down
Friday Oct 21 - CJ Ramone, Johnny Madcap at the Dive Bar
Friday Oct 21 - Van Der Rohe - Bunkhouse

Tuesday Oct 25 - Rev Peyton's Big Damn Band with the Supersuckers at Triple B

Thursday Nov 10 - Gram Rabbit, Acid Sisters, Darts (with members of the Love Me Nots, Two Tens and Brainspoon!) and the Van der Rohe at the Bunkhouse

Saturday Nov 12 - Cash'd Out at Adrenaline Sports Bar

Friday Nov 18 - Gogo Bordello at the Brooklyn Bowl

Thursday Dec 8 - movie premier of Atomic Punks at the Double Down

What have I forgotten? Lemme know

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Reverberations, the Van der Rohe at the Double Down, Sunday Sept 11, 2016


I missed Portland's Reverberations the last time they came through Vegas due to car problems, but this time I made a concerted effort, despite hanging at the DD the previous two nights. Well worth being a little tired at work on a Monday!

Cromm Fallon's (Astaires) side project, The Van der Rohe, opened the night and despite some considerable technical problems (not sure what all happened, but it seemed very frustrating), they got the crowd up'n'dancin' with their brand of snappy 60's garage'n'roll. Bassist Noland Magnuson sang the first tune before lead vocalist Will Lizarraga joined them for the rest of the set. Cromm's guitar tone varied from clean to wildly overdriven fuzz madness, while Noland's fuzz bass drove the songs with Omar Perez providing snappy drum rolls and the rockin' back beat. I believe there was some originals mixed in with 60's classics like Q65's "Cry in the Night" and the Fabs' "The Bag I'm In", but it all worked together seamlessly in an energetic fuzz'n'roll party. Great stuff - definitely looking forward to hearing more from them!









The Reverberations loaded up the stage with Vox amps and keyboard, Epiphone guitars and a Rickenbacker bass and then slammed into another set of vicious, high energy fuzz garage. At times reminding me of my old band, the Unclaimed (singer Dave has a similar style to Shelly Ganz), they also had hints of the Kinks, a bit of the Byrds/Turtles and the sonic madness of the MC5 (whose "Lookin' At You" they covered). Great players all around (Dave's a fine lead guitarist as well as singer) and cool originals as well as fine taste in covers. Totally a blast and they again got the people dancin' and crowdin' the merch table after the set. This was the completion of a short west coast tour, but hopefully they will return soon (despite some online jealousy from the out of town band that had to follow them) on a Friday or Saturday so that Vegas can show up in force. Another superb night of r'n'r at the Double Down!








Sunday, September 11, 2016

Tiger Sex, Fat Dukes of Fuck, New Cold War, Chuckwagon Experience at the Double Down, Saturday Sept 10, 2016


The first show that the Swamp Gospel played in Las Vegas was at the Motor City Cafe with guitar man Kei's Tinglerz and Kei also played with the Gospel's Brother Lenny in the garage greats, the Dirty Babies. I always been a fan of his wild guitar style, so was certainly a fan of Tiger Sex when he formed this with singer Kelly and various others on rhythms. K&K moved to Ohio a few years back and this was their first return-to-Vegas show after a short tour of the West Coast.

I missed the Chuckwagon Experience due to last minute issues with my dog right as I was getting ready to go out, but dug their surf/metal stylings when I saw them last year. Bassist Paul previously played with Tiger Sex while they were still in LV, so this was a very appropriate addition to the gig.

Made it just as New Cold War were going on, though. These cats are a LV based punk/grunge/metal combo led by guitarist/vocalist Andy Harrison and a revolving group of musicians. This evening their was a basic two guitar/bass/drums line-up, but apparently this can vary wildly, even including two drummers at time. In any case, all were fine players with a tight rhythm section, good harmonies, a little ska, a lot of raw power and some big, r'n'r endings!





There was a big turn-out for the return of Tiger Sex and they were certainly not disappointed! Due to issues with keeping a bassist, Kei decided to take care of it himself, got an octave pedal and a splitter and runs through a guitar and bass amp simultaneously! This can be tricky, but it totally works for TS! Drummer Ron (I believe - sorry, I am terrible with names) is a power house of drivin' rhythms and Kelly has a huge, raw voice and with all of their continual gigging in the mid-west, she has learned to control it well and give a great visual performance at the same time. The set was mostly originals and while they concentrate on high energy punk'n'roll, they aren't afraid to mix it up with various tempos - including a slow blues - while never relinquishing their potency. The crowd danced'n'moshed throughout the set - even on the slow tunes! - and dug everything they did, including a crazed version of the Runaways "Cherry Bomb" and, with their old bassist Paul joining them, an intense "I Wanna Be Your Dog". Unfortunately, they still don't have any recordings available, though hopefully they will soon. See them if you can, and if you live anywhere in the mid-west, the chances are that they will be playing your town at any moment!














Closing the night (at a fairly reasonable hour, even) were the Fat Dukes of Fuck, who were joined this night by hockey-mask wearing musician-about-town Jeff Murphy. I had not seen them before, but they had a metal-punk sound with intricate musicianship that kept the moshing going until the end of the night!